Hi there, and thanks for checking out Vegetarian Atlas. My name is Leora Copeland, and by day I’m an Employee Experience Advocate, which is my fancy way of saying I create and implement feedback, communication, and change management strategies to help companies become better places to work.
I’m also a wife and step-mom, and am excited to be participating in Spinning Atlas as a “self-taught expert” to enjoying a vegetarian lifestyle. I’ve spent a lot of time doing research on nutrition and diet, and love sharing what I’ve discovered and how I incorporate it into my meal planning and cooking.
When people ask why I’m a vegetarian, I usually just tell them it’s because I don’t like the idea of eating animals (which, for me, includes marine animals, e.g., fish and shellfish). Which is true. There’s so much more to it than just that simple answer, but I’m not interested in trying to proselytize, evangelize, shame, or convert anyone. If they want to know more, they can ask. About as far as I’ll go in a casual conversation is to tell people I’ve educated myself on the meat industry, and have decided I don’t want to support it.
I’m careful, because I live in a glass house. I eat dairy products, which are inherently cruel to cows, and I own products made of leather – and don’t even get me started on gelatin. So, I don’t judge anyone for eating meat – I’m just not interested in it, and I’ve spent too much time understanding exactly how it got on the plate – which nauseates me to the point I couldn’t eat it anyway. Part of my rationale is that animals are animals, and I don’t distinguish between the ones I choose for companions, and the ones people choose for food. I ask people how they would feel if someone served them a dog, or a cat. The response I get is invariably disgust and horror. I tell them that’s how I feel about any flesh on my plate. They usually “get” it, even if they don’t fully understand it.
The thing about being a vegetarian, is that you can eat a lot of crap without eating any animals. And the thing about me being a vegetarian is that I honestly don’t have a ton of time to spend at the grocery store or in the kitchen – or the desire to do so. But, over the last 10 years or so I’ve worked to educate myself on how to make quick, easy meals that are both vegetarian and healthy. And, if I’m lucky, they’re pretty tasty too. Hopefully, you’ll find these recipes easy and delicious, and over time start to feel comfortable putting together your own vegetarian meals. Trust me – with a little knowledge and imagination, you’ll never miss that dead animal on your plate.
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